Costa proves his worth with goals

Lula Sharp
June 23, 2018

Iran went into the World Cup with few expectations but pulled off a shock in their opening game as they beat Morocco 1-0.

But on Wednesday the Brazil-born striker was the difference-maker as La Roja finally managed to break down a superbly-drilled and fantastically fearless Iran side to win 1-0 in Kazan and put themselves on the verge of a place in the last 16.

Spain, looking to emulate their 2010 triumph when Andres Iniesta hit an extra-time victor to deny the Netherlands in the final, now sit top of Group B before a final match against Morocco, who restricted Portugal to a 1-0 win earlier on Wednesday.

Spain is only playing from time to time so far during this World Cup.

It was obvious that Iran's primary objective was to frustrate the Spanish, and they did so very effectively. Their one and only World Cup win came in 2010, as a golden generation of Spanish players entertained the world with their brand of passing football on their way to lifting the trophy against the Netherlands in South Africa.

Costa claimed his third goal of the tournament in the 54th minute at Kazan Arena but the striker hardly knew about it, the ball deflecting off his knee from an attempted clearance by hapless Iran defender Ramin Rezaeian.

Optus Sport made free until 31 August
For the World Cup, Optus made coverage available to anyone willing to pay for a subscription rather than just customers on its own mobile and fixed line networks.

While the Portuguese may not be as strong all over the park, they do have a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. "Once spectators have shown their respect for the rules, we hope it will be possible to screen the Iran-Portugal game in the same stadium (next Monday) and that will mark the start of families attending matches played at the Azadi", she told the ISNA news agency.

"We will stick to the style that defines us as a team, but we have to pass the ball around a lot more and maintain possession. We're a team and we have to stick together".

KAZAN, Russia, (Xinhua) - Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said on Tuesday that his team have nothing to lose but will just do their best in the upcoming battle against powerhouse Spain. Iran did just that, holding Morocco until the 95th minute when an Aziz Bouhaddouz own goal put Iran in front, and sparked wild scenes in the Iranian camp.

"It's a crucial match that will determine our World Cup destiny", said Isco.

"In this moment we are more concerned because one member of our staff in difficulty from health point of view after VAR decision", Queiroz said. With Spain and Portugal both having secured a win and a draw and Portugal expected to trounce Iran on Monday, both Iberian countries will nearly certainly proceed to the knockout stage of the tournament, leaving Morocco and Iran out of the running.

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